Regular readers of this blog will be aware of my passion for Welsh rugby, fresh food and especially markets. Every so often the stars align and we take ourselves off to Rome where all can be indulged. And so it was last weekend.
Early February in Rome is not the best time for the rugby, but we did OK, despite the weather and the Conservative/UKIP coup inspired freefall in the value of the pound. It did mean we avoided some of the tourist–gouging places and sought out more freshness and value.
Thus it was that we ended up at the Farmers’ Market at the far end of Circo Massimo on Saturday morning. After a quick re-enactment of some of best chariot bits of Ben Hur we were ready for some food. And what a market it is.
As the photographs of the English leaflet below shows this market is truly a producers’ market, being part of the Campagna Amica. Focusing on shortened supply chains, greater sustainability and fair profits for producers, it showcases some stunning produce.
Campagna Amica is a brand which identifies places where people can find authentic Italian products guaranteed by farmers. It links
- 5900 farmers
- 1200 markets
- 1500 agri-tourism sites
- 300 restaurants
- 170 stores
This is authentic, real, Italian produce direct from producers. As the photographs below show, the market is a feast for the eyes and the stomach. It was very busy when we were there with clear evidence of people doing a weekly fruit, vegetable, cheese, meat etc. shop. I contented myself with one of the best pork rolls I‘ve ever had – and various samples of other things. Check out the photos carefully for detail of the produce.
In one way it was reminiscent of so many other Italian markets, but there seemed to be more direct engagement. The quality was stunning. Whilst produce always can look good in Italy (see Eataly for example as well as most local markets,) this was another level and interaction. As I asked two years ago, why can’t we do this in the UK?
This was not the only impressive retailing of food. The produce in the non-touristy part of the Campo del Fiori market was also excellent (and there are two slides from another local market as well in the show below) and some of the displays of produce in the local small stores were spectacular. Check out the meat shops in the slide show below as well as the other produce displays.
Food is a religion in Italy and it is one we really should be following. Whilst Italy has its share of chains and fast-food (pizza of course) it has held on to and celebrated its authentic food heritage and culture. I can’t wait to go back.